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Bayer Petitions For Approval of Biotech Rice 266

br_sjrpreto_sp writes to clue us to an article on Foodnavigator. Agro giant Bayer Crop Sciences has petitioned the US Department of Agriculture to approve a genetically modified rice variety that has been at the heart of a recent contamination scandal. From the article: "Marketed under the brand name LibertyLink, these [varieties] were engineered to tolerate the toxic herbicide glufosinate ammonium. The company in July notified the US regulatory body that it had discovered trace amounts of an unapproved GM rice in samples of commercial rice seed." After the contamination scare, the market for US rice tanked as European countries imposed import limitations. When rice producers sued Bayer, the company responded with this request to the USDA. The petition is open to public comment until October 10. Comments may be submitted via the Internet at www.regulations.gov — search keyword APHIS-2006-0140."
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Bayer Petitions For Approval of Biotech Rice

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  • Makes it Worse! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by saihung ( 19097 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:16PM (#16093067)
    So the USDA approve's Bayer's application, and Bayer's rice starts contaminating fields all over the coutry. Europe and Japan ban US rice exports permanently. Why is this better please?
    • I dont understand why its legal to let Bayer comtaminate your rice... That never made sense.
    • Re:Makes it Worse! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mordors9 ( 665662 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:21PM (#16093092)
      Well then we (the US Govt) can say that we have officially approved the GM rice and therefore it really is safe (trust us, we say so). Then we can threaten and bully other countries into allowing its export to their country, otherwise face trade sanctions or a trip to court. Meanwhile our country gets to face greater and greater amounts of herbicides and pesticides going into our ground water.
      • by Dusty ( 10872 )

        Food containing GM products must be labelled as such in Europe:-

        GM Labelling [food.gov.uk]

        It's possible that import restrictions aren't necessary, if the labels are correct. But if the consumers don't want GM food, then Bayer might find it doesn't have a market for it's rice in Europe.

        • Oh but you don't know the lengths our government will go for its corporate overlords. I recall several years ago (maybe a couple of decades(don't laugh, wait until you get old)) the US browbeating Japan about their marketplace not accepting US products once they got the trade barriers removed. There was a lack of cultural acceptance at the time. We will try to put quotas on use of this new miracle food just as we did back then. It is good for you, you know :-)
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by shawb ( 16347 )
          The problem doesn't really come from Europeans not purchasing the rice (It's designed to be processed into a medicine, not eaten.) The problem comes in when farmers are trying to grow organic and non-GM, but their crops are cross-fertilized by the GM crops, destroying the market for their product. And then Bayer turns around and sues the victim of the cross polinization for IP theft.
      • And that works SOOOOO well. US beef is pretty damn rare to come accross in Japan. Consumers flattly won't buy it. Countries outside of the US don't necicarily have stupid shit consumers that'll buy anything put in front of them. Doesn't matter if you try to force a country to import food. So it's in the country. Now whos gona buy it? When the consumer speaks with thier wallet (like the Japanse know how to do) your fucked. Genetic engineered anything is a bad bad baaad idea. We are still in the dark ages of
    • Re:Makes it Worse! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Brett Buck ( 811747 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:22PM (#16093098)
      Why do you think it's contaminated? It's different. I fail to see why anyone is happy having rice with unintentional, random genetic changes (i.e. natural rice) and concerned over intentional changes.

              brett
      • Re:Makes it Worse! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:33PM (#16093155) Homepage Journal
        No one knows if there's a difference between genetic modifications made by humans and those made by nature. It's possible human methods introduce side effects that nature does not. It's also possible we make a modification that would be suppressed if it happened naturally, but instead gets exaggerated because we're controlling its reproduction. We can't control natural random genetic changes, but we can control what we do.
        • I'll atleast argue one of your points:

          We can't control what we do. Eventually, someone on this planet is going to have enough starving people and enough technology and GM foods will happen.

          Of course, no one ever seems to bring up how much GM organisms we deal with here in America. 89% of the planted area of soybeans, 83% of cotton, and 61% maize are genetically modified varieties in America. According to wikipedia: The Grocery Manufacturers of America estimate that 75% of all processed foods in the U.S. c
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by TheLink ( 130905 )
            Starving? There are more overweight and obese people than starving people in the world.

            THERE IS PLENTY OF FOOD TO GO AROUND!

            People are starving not because we're not using enough GM stuff.

            They are starving because of a few very greedy and evil people. You ship tons of food to some famine-ridden country in Africa, next thing you know, the army seizes all of it and sells it, and the people still starve.

            Or things are screwed up by corruption, incompetence, ignorance, and yet more greed. Take Malawi for an exam
        • It's possible those dire consequences may return to haunt GM consumers.

          However, it is FACT that the increased use of herbicides and pesticides associated with GM crops is a threat to human health and increases the incidence of many serious diseases.

          This threat however occurs in the country in which the crop is grown, so regardless of whether Europe and Japan ban the rice or not, it will be US citizens who die so that a few companies can make a few bucks.

        • Cultivated rice in the wild cannot survive without separation and replanting. It's *all* GM. It's just that the mods were done by specific selection, and has happened by so many farmers over so many years that we've lost the original stock. The only difference for Bayer is that selection was sped up a bit in a labortory setting.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Irvu ( 248207 )
        We're uncomfortable because by and large the intentional changes tend to be a) more extreme than any single random change; b) patented meaning that companies like monsanto can then come along and sue anyone whose crops are 'contaminated' with by the crossover DNA; and worst c) The companies that make these as a rule do a terrible job of identifying the long-term consequences. A cursory glance at the history of human changes to the environment (e.g. introducing unkillable predators and then spending money t
      • by Sathias ( 884801 )
        fail to see why anyone is happy having rice with unintentional, random genetic changes (i.e. natural rice) and concerned over intentional changes.

        Unintentional, random genetic changes aren't covered by a patent.
      • by Bob9113 ( 14996 )
        I fail to see why anyone is happy having rice with unintentional, random genetic changes (i.e. natural rice) and concerned over intentional changes.

        Do you want to see, or are you saying you choose not to see?

        If the former, the answer is simple; rate of change. Leaving aside the patent issue (people getting sued because the pollen blown on the wind fertilized their crop), there is the problem of sudden introduction of a new species. When a new species evolves over time, it places gradual pressures on the eco
      • Actually, people are concerned anytime a new strain or species (whether natural or GM) is introduced to the local ecosystem. Sometimes there's no major effects. Sometimes, it turns into an invasive species.

        http://www.invasivespeciesinfo.gov/unitedstates/ma in.shtml [invasivespeciesinfo.gov]
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by radtea ( 464814 )
        I fail to see why anyone is happy having rice with unintentional, random genetic changes (i.e. natural rice) and concerned over intentional changes.

        Apparently because you know nothing about how many GM foods are created: by the introduction of powerful mutagens, either chemical or radioactive.

        Simply because a change is intentional does not mean it is non-random, and GM foods are created with a variety of techniques whose sole purpose is to induce particular, commerically valuable, changes that could not be
      • 1. I'm no expert on the subject but I have read more than one story about GM grains contaminating otherwise natural or even organic crops resulting in all sorts of problems, not the least of which is being sued by the owner of the patents.

        2. The purpose of GM foods is to make them more resistant to herbicides and insecticides. They might even throw in a few genes that could result in longer shelf life. The problem is that the use of these types of crops will result in increased usage of environmentally da
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I do not believe GM is a safe technology, and I feel safer eating natural foods. GM food is artificial, even more so than foods that have additives added to them, since they have been manipulated at the genetic level.

        Humans have evolved for thousands of years eating natural foods with DNA codes by nature. The idea is the further we move away from nature regarding what we put into our bodies, generally, the harder it becomes for the body to make good uses of these nutrients. The human body has evolved to be
      • We've had thousands of years (and millions of deaths due to poisoning, disease and malnutrition) to work out which naturally evolved foods are safe and which aren't, and humans have evolved to recognise and be repulsed by foods which are unsafe.

        We don't have that advantage for artificially genetically modified food.

        Also all the natural cosmic rays in the world aren't going to splice banana genes and fish genes.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sinij ( 911942 )
      Imagine your crops now someone else's IP and you need to pay royalties. Imagine your crops now 'designed to work' with specific fertilizer.
  • It would be of great comfort to me if the Teeming Millions could learn to think rationally about such things.
  • I really enjoy this rice...especially since I have several tongues to taste it with now! Mmmm!
  • Genetically modified food/crops/animals once released into nature are like an environmental pollution.

    Only this pollution will never vanish, because these organisms are "genetically engineered" with a dominat special (=patented) gen that will be reproduced and breed with other species.

    Monsanto vs. Farmers [google.com]
    • by lanner ( 107308 )
      Reminds me of the Panzer Dragoon series of games. Very interesting storyline.
    • While herbicide resistant genes do provide an advantage where that herbicide is used, many genes insterted into transgenic organisms are a disadvantage, particularly those that increase yields. Even herbicide resistance genes can provide a selective disadvantage when the herbicide is absent. This is easiest to see in bacteria - obviously antiobiotic resistance is an advantage when an antibiotic is present, but it frequently slows down reproduction, causing selective disadvantages compared to the non-trans
  • Is there any evidence to suggest that GM crops are bad for humans? I don't know, please somebody enlighten me. But knowing what little I know about genetics (undergraduate class on genetics) I don't see it being a big problem. What I see is the biggest problem is that they are using this GM crop so they can use a more deadly herbacide. Herbacides have been proven to be harmfull for humans and bad for the ecosystem in general.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      GM crops may or may not be bad for humans, but they may be bad for the crops and they tend to contaiminate natural breeds which we know have long term sustainability.

      Add to that the fact that this particular GM crop in question is one which is designed to be sprayed with herbicides. The GM crops might be bad for other crops, and the herbicides might be bad for us.

      On the other hand it might all be okay, too. The problem is we can't trust anyone to actually tell the truth about that because there's so much
    • by fo0bar ( 261207 )
      GM foods are made with lasers. Lasers are evil.

      Duh.
    • by Ungrounded Lightning ( 62228 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:45PM (#16093208) Journal
      Is there any evidence to suggest that GM crops are bad for humans?

      Yes.

      A major problem is allergies.

      Much of genetic engineering for crops consists of copying a gene or set of genes from one species to another, in order to confer its advantages on the engineered organism. This results in the engineered plant making a set of protiens (and their fallout products) that were previously lacking in that organism.

      Now suppose you're violently allergic to, say, some cell membrane protien in peanuts. Eat a trace of a peanut and you end up in the hospital. Eat a handfull and you might suddenly die. But if you avoid peanuts you're fine, right?

      Then suppose somebody discovers that this protien confers a resistance to a quickly-degraded herbicide that gets most of the weeds that currently infest corn, wheat, and soybean fields and rice paddies. So they clone it into corn, wheat, soybeans, and rice. This produces new strains that are easier to grow: Plant 'em, spray once with the herbicide to kill the weeds but not the crops, and get high yields with little effort. The new strains are cheaper to grow and quickly displace their competition.

      And now you're deathly allergic to peanuts, corn, wheat, soy, and rice.

      Or at least to the GM versions of the corn, wheat, soy, and rice.

      But you can't tell from the labeling which strains of corn, wheat, soy, or rice are in any given product you buy.

      And once they're growing in the fields, they produce polen that fertilizes OTHER corn, wheat, soy, or rice. A few generations later even some "unmodified" strains (such as those grown by the organic farmer in the next field downwind) will contain it. If the advantage is sufficient it becomes pervasive.

      That's just one example. Iterate for other sources of useful protiens. Iterate using animals. Iterate for genes that produce powerful hormones or drug precursors, which may affect you when consumed orally. Iterate for airborne allergens. And so on.
      • Perhaps more people would breastfeed their children then?

        Of all the people I've known with adverse allergies, not one was breastfed.

        But for some reason people think a scientist can come up with a better solution than either God or evolution (doesn't matter which, seems clear to me that either is better than our formula). People see the formula and think "my, that looks thick and much more nutricous for the baby." But only in the last ~15 years did we learn that folic acid was paramount to the developement o
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        This is complete bollocks. How is this moderated Informative?

        People are NOT allergic to peanuts. People are allergic to specific protein produced by peanuts. Just because you MAY borrow a gene from peanut does not mean you will automatically inherit the allergic protein as well.

        In fact, since the peanut allegen is so well know, there is NO POSSIBLE way the GM producers will add such annoying protein to a modified rice. Why would they? They would liable for MILLIONS in damages (for knowingly adding stuff

    • Is there any evidence to suggest that GM crops are bad for humans?

      This isn't just about these GM crops being harmful to humans. There is a whole slew of other issues with GM crop chief among whom is genetic contamination aka. cross pollination. This has all sorts of implications ranging from the economic through the social to biological. If your export customer is sensitive about GM crops and your neighbor's GM crops cross pollinate with your non GM crops you can possibly wake up one day and find that Bayer
  • by rrohbeck ( 944847 )
    Sounds like a crossbreed between Freedom Fries and Franks. Must be unhealthy.

  • by rumblin'rabbit ( 711865 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:29PM (#16093127) Journal
    It's interesting that they refer to a food product that is, to an extraordinarily high degree of probably, perfectly safe for consumption, as a "contaminant".

    And other people think 9/11 was planned and executed by the U.S. government.

    Meanwhile people fight to make creationism part of the high school science curriculum.

    And many consider homeopathic medicines, also known as "water", as effective treatments.

    Gives me a migraine. Where did I put my "head-on"?

    • Um, this rice is genetically modified so it can be covered with a very strong pesticide, which is not perfectly safe for consumption. Nice job bringing 9/11 into the conversation, though.
      • They put toxic herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides on crops all of the time, whether the plant is GM or not. You just can't put ones on that kill the actual crop, and you can't put them on too soon before harvesting.
      • Well, he was really commenting more on the overall irrationality with which both genetically modified and 9/11 have been treated by the public, and don't even get me started on Creationism. And there I agree with him: corporations are paying dearly in terms of public acceptance of their products for decades of duplicity, and we are all seeing, firsthand, the results of having a poorly-educated public that can't tell DNA from a concrete block.
  • by spoco2 ( 322835 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:44PM (#16093197)
    I mean really, you all talk about glowing green, getting two tounges etc.

    I caught my first episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit the other night, and it just so happened to have a piece on GM food.
        Some clips:
        A short clip outline [youtube.com]
        The entire segment [putfile.com]

    It painted a pretty good argument FOR GM food... to feed the millions who are otherwise dying because it's hard to get crops to grow in their parts of the world.

    Aren't the 'GM' crops really just an extension of grafting and selective breeding that has been going on for thousands of years?

    Please enlighten me if I'm wrong, but in their piece they/those they interviewed stated that two of the things I thought were true about GM foods aren't:

    * GM foods contain genes spliced from frogs/fish/other animals: Apparently bullshit
    * GM foods don't require any testing/checks before being used: Also apparently bullshit, that they are more heavily regulated than any other food.

    Is this true, or have Penn & Teller hoodwinked me?
    • by geekoid ( 135745 )
      "Aren't the 'GM' crops really just an extension of grafting and selective breeding that has been going on for thousands of years?
      "
      no. not even close and anyone selling that to you is either ignorant or a liar.

      At what point would a fish and fruit mate?

      You taking two or more genes from thing that would in no way be able to be breaded through natural selection.

      "* GM foods contain genes spliced from frogs/fish/other animals: Apparently bullshit"
      the whole point of GMOs is transgenic splicing.
      Yes they do splice F
      • by dondelelcaro ( 81997 ) <don@donarmstrong.com> on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @08:29PM (#16093377) Homepage Journal
        Aren't the 'GM' crops really just an extension of grafting and selective breeding that has been going on for thousands of years?
        At what point would a fish and fruit mate?
        Mating between species or varieties is not what is at issue here; that's a completely spurious objection. An appropriate question is whether there would ever be exchange of genetic material between the organisms in question. Considering the fact that it is relatively easy to get viruses to encapsulate various parts of plant and/or animal genomes, it is not inconceivable that genetic material could be shared across animal kingdoms. Indeed, many plants are quite capable of pulling in genetic material from almost anywhere. Indeed, that's how these transgenic plants are made in the first place.
        You taking two or more genes from thing that would in no way be able to be breaded through natural selection.
        Natural selection is an entirely separate process from the transfer of genetic material across species or from parents to offspring; bringing it into a discussion of transgenic plants and animals is nothing more than a red herring.

        That being said, it is important to carefully examine and test the plants that we select for human and animal consumption, but that's something that is required even for "natural" food sources.
      • by Rix ( 54095 )
        the whole point of GMOs is transgenic splicing.
        Yes they do splice Fish and rice.


        Really. All right, I'll call you on that one. Point out one case of rice with fish genes, or any plant with fish genes seriously considered for use as an agricultural product.

        If you cannot, please sit the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and leave the decision to grown ups.
    • by lelitsch ( 31136 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @08:11PM (#16093315)
      Both are valid arguments, but they somewhat miss their mark.

      Yes, GM seeds might be able to grow in marginal areas. But the vast majority of GM foods is grown in the US where there aren't millions starving. Actually, patented GM foods create a problem for farmers in developing countries since they can't keep back part of their harvest as seed for the next growing season. If they can't afford seed corn, they'll starve or have to wait for th UN air drop. I haven't seen Monsanto or anyone put a huge effort into GM plants for the Sahel or the Tibetan desert yet. And, quite frankly, improved irrigation or similar changes to production are probably much more efficient.

      There are reasonably good arguments for using GM foods to help counteract nutritional deficiencies, though. Golden Rice [wikipedia.org] is probably the best example.

      GM foods do require stringent testing, but past experience shows that even the most stringent testing can reliably weed out all problems Two examples for failed pharmaceutical testing would be Contagan and Vioxx, Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are two examples that even if something is tested to be almost idiot proof, someone will invent a better operator. If you screw up FDA testing for medications, you can just destroy what was produced. With GM foods, you simply can't. Some will escape and multiply.

      The no fish/fowl gene argument is a bit spurious. There have been experiments along those lines. But just think what would happen if pesticide resistant rice cross pollinates with weed grasses. Instant huge problem.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by radtea ( 464814 )
        But just think what would happen if pesticide resistant rice cross pollinates with weed grasses.

        Not "if". When.

        It is an absolute certainty that the genes will get loose. That's what they do, and plants hybridize to the extent that there are biologists who have challenged the validity of the "biological species concept" as a general means of categorization, citing cases where up to 40% of the individuals in a particular lump of foliage are unclassifiable hybrids.

        The very point of the story here is that GM
        • This kind of thing has already happened in Canada, where a farmer got done for storing seed from "Deadly Poison Ready" wheat that had grown from cross-pollination from a neighbour's field.

          If you're referring to this case [wikipedia.org] then you've been mislead. Monsanto won the case by showing that the farmer had deliberately planted roundup-ready canola.
        • by Rix ( 54095 )
          It is an absolute certainty that the genes will get loose. That's what they do, and plants hybridize to the extent that there are biologists who have challenged the validity of the "biological species concept" as a general means of categorization, citing cases where up to 40% of the individuals in a particular lump of foliage are unclassifiable hybrids.

          I was going to point out why you're wrong, but I don't really see the point. If you can't figure out for yourself how moronic that statement is, you're beyon
      • by Rix ( 54095 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @11:10PM (#16094091)
        Yes, GM seeds might be able to grow in marginal areas. But the vast majority of GM foods is grown in the US where there aren't millions starving. Actually, patented GM foods create a problem for farmers in developing countries since they can't keep back part of their harvest as seed for the next growing season. If they can't afford seed corn, they'll starve or have to wait for th UN air drop. I haven't seen Monsanto or anyone put a huge effort into GM plants for the Sahel or the Tibetan desert yet. And, quite frankly, improved irrigation or similar changes to production are probably much more efficient.

        And this has nothing to do with GM food, per se. It's an issue with obsolete laws from the dawn of the industrial revolution being stapled onto the modern world. This has more in common with pharmaceuticals (especially AIDS treatments) than it does with agriculture.

        GM foods do require stringent testing, but past experience shows that even the most stringent testing can reliably weed out all problems Two examples for failed pharmaceutical testing would be Contagan and Vioxx.

        Comparing the testing to pharmaceuticals is absurd. If you can't figure out why you should be ashamed of yourself for making the comparison, do the rest of us a favour and never discuss this topic again.

        Three Mile Island and Chernobyl are two examples that even if something is tested to be almost idiot proof, someone will invent a better operator.

        This is pure technophobia. Three mile island is a non issue. Even the laughable 'cell phones cause teh cancer' nonsense is of more concern than that. Chernobyl was the result of a dying government, rather than the technology itself.

        If you screw up FDA testing for medications, you can just destroy what was produced. With GM foods, you simply can't. Some will escape and multiply.

        So? The absolute worst case senario is that a highly specialized pesticide will be somewhat less effective against wild varieties of your particular crop. They aren't going to cross breed with any other plant, and if you think they will, you need to turn the god damned scifi channel off.
    • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @08:14PM (#16093322) Homepage
      This is a really good question. It's also a really complex one. The best book on the topic that I know of is called Lords of the Harvest, [amazon.com] by Daniel Charles. Its a comprehensive and mostly unbiased look at the history of biotech and what it means for society and the future of food.

      Charles really manages to sum up both sides of the argument pretty well. For one thing, he explains pretty much what you say Penn & Teller have said: that this stuff just ain't the demonic conspiracy a lot of people want to believe it is. A lot of genetically modified foods are produced by bombarding cells with radiation, or bathing them in chemicals that cause genes to replicate in random ways. In other words, scientists are just forcing the natural process of random mutation that occurs any time life reproduces. Very few GM organisms are created by piecing together bits of this or that -- it's too hard to do successfully.

      There is something to be said for "feeding the starving," too, as you say. In certain parts of the world, certain plant diseases are so rampant that you just can't grow a lot of crops. They will grow poorly and not yield what they could in order to feed people. A lot of GM crops aim to solve this problem.

      But there are more troubling aspects as well. Here at home, the reasons for using GM crops seem less cut and dried. To give one fairly benign example, a ton of work has been put into genetically modifying tomatoes -- but not to make them taste better, or to be more nutritious. No, scientists modify tomatoes so that they will have more cellulose in them, which makes them take longer to ripen and go soft. That way they can be transported farther without spoilage. Of course, it also makes them sort of taste like a piece of celery. The modifications are done solely for the business of agriculture, not for the customer's benefit.

      More troubling is that many of the stated aims of biotech have not come to fruition. At one time, scientists promised that GM crops would be resilient to pests and diseases. If a boll weevil couldn't eat a certain crop, you'd no longer have to dump pesticides all over it, which would make farming more environmentally friendly! Well, that sort of happened. But the most popular GM crops of all, as it turns out, are these herbicide resistant crops like TFA talks about. These are plants that can't be killed by modern herbicides. The reason you want that is because weeds can be killed by modern herbicides. So instead of hiring people to go and painstakingly remove all the weeds from your fields, you just repeatedly spray your fields with herbicides. In other words, with GM farming you're actually using more chemicals than traditional farming. And why not? Because the same company is selling you both the GM crops and the chemicals.

      And then you have the intellectual property issues. Most of these GM crops are patented. If you are a farmer and you want to plant GM corn, you have to buy it under a license from Monsanto (for example). Typically, that license will include a clause that says you can never plant corn that you grow. Got that? You have a whole field full of ears of corn, and you are forbidden to take any of that corn and put it in the soil to grow next year's crop. You must buy all your seed directly from Monsanto, year after year. And Monsanto sends people out to test your crops, too! If you're not licensed to be growing GM corn this year, and they pick an ear off one of your plants and they determine that it's GM corn, they will actually sue you. (And yes, there have been "false positives" -- false, because the farmer did not knowingly do anything wrong, because his crops were cross-pollinated through the air with GM crops.) To many people, this move toward farming as a new kind of industrial complex controlled by gigantic, multinational corporations is very troubling. To what extent is it appropriate for these corporations to control our food supply?

      Anyway, that's just a snapshot
      • So instead of hiring people to go and painstakingly remove all the weeds from your fields, you just repeatedly spray your fields with herbicides. In other words, with GM farming you're actually using more chemicals than traditional farming.

        That depends on how you define 'traditional'. Most non-GM farmers still use herbicides. They just use different [wikipedia.org] ones that target specific types of weeds, rather than herbicides [wikipedia.org] that kill all non-Roundup Ready plants.
      • Thanks for that reply, the issue with companies patenting their crops etc. was one I had read a while back and forgotten about.

        It is a big issue, and its sad when things that could be for the good of all are turned into the good of some and the bad of most by the greedy.
    • These sort of arguments completely miss the point. The biggest problems with GM food are the companies behind it. Companies like Monsanto are known, finding that their seeds have contaminated a field neighboring one for which the seeds are licensed and subsequently sued the owner of the field, which was accidentally contaminated. And worse still, they've won. Monsanto and the other GM food companies patent all their gene splicings, and very aggresively enforce them. In addition, the license aggrements manda
    • by bahwi ( 43111 )
      No one starves because of lack of food, because we make enough food to feed the world a few times over each year, we just feed it to cattle, who are higher on the food chain than some "lesser" humans.

      =)

      Not quite that bad, since we wouldn't just GIVE away the food anyways, but it is capitalism, sell it to the poor countries or feed it to cattle to make even more expensive meat?
      • by Rix ( 54095 )
        Actually, no, we still produce more than enough to feed the entire world and all the cattle. For fucks sake, some people are trying to use corn as gasoline its so abundant. The real problem is distribution, and the technophobic morons who block the trade of GM crops are a big part of that.
    • GM crops/foods that include genes spliced from fish (and probably other animals, too) do exist. You can read more about it, and other GM issues, here [friendsofanimals.org] (notable for it's extensive bibliography).
    • Penn & Teller are basically full of biased ... bullshit. I don't know why anyone would take their agenda seriously.
      • by spoco2 ( 322835 )
        "Penn & Teller are basically full of biased ... bullshit. I don't know why anyone would take their agenda seriously."

        Sure I can see right through their selective picking of their interviewees on each side (whack jobs on the side they don't like, and rational sorts on the side they do)... but it's the same tactics that right wing nuts use as well, so it kinda balances out.

        In any case it's amusing, and I put it out there as a starting point for discussion, which it has indeed been.
        • ... but it's the same tactics that right wing nuts use as well, so it kinda balances out.

          I'm not understanding how that balances out, as P&T appear to lean heavily to the "right wing nut" side of things. How does this balance out the predominance of right-wing messages in the media?

          • by spoco2 ( 322835 )
            I don't feel they're really right wing per se (I haven't watched many of the episodes as yet).

            From what I've watched of their episodes on legalising drugs etc. I would say they are pretty liberal minded.
    • by Kanasta ( 70274 )
      GM is grafting and selective breeding that has been going on for thousands of years compressed into 1year with NO chance for other systems to also evolve in reaction to those changes.

      I can GM eg corn to be poisonous to humans.
      If it happened in nature over thousands of years tho, we would have either developed an immunity or bred out that trait.

      Both sides are BS'ing you.

      I mean, eg software goes thru testing/checks before being used, does that mean no commercial software have bugs?

      Same for GM food, you can't
    • I mean really, you all talk about glowing green, getting two tounges etc.

      GM food doesn't concern me too much if it's managed appropriately. As your comment implies, I've seen a lot of people who are concerned about things glowing green, but I really don't think this is an issue (unless we're really stupid).

      What disturbs me are the predominantly US mega-corporations that hold the majority of rights to produce GM food, and appear to be quite happy to do whatever it takes to contaminate non-GM food, and l

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MacDork ( 560499 )

      Did they mention any specific varieties being developed in sub-Saharan Africa? Ahh, I didn't think so. The fat one sure is proud of ol' Norm though. Apparently with Norm, being some random genetic engineer makes him the greatest person in all of human history... clearly ahead of Jesus, who is also in the pile of cards. I'm not religious myself, but I *know* that isn't gonna help Penn and Teller's argument one bit. Also note, Norm's Nobel prize was awarded in 1970... 7 years before scientists discovered

    • I caught my first episode of Penn & Teller's Bullshit the other night, and it just so happened to have a piece on GM food.

      "Bullshit" is a highly appropos name for that show.

      In that particular episode, they find a couple kids outside of a supermarket, handing out fliers, and take their casual comments on the subject, and discount them one by one. They don't even give the dummies a chance to reply to their claims.

      On slashdot, crap like that would be modded down in seconds. "Bullshit" makes Michael Moore

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It painted a pretty good argument FOR GM food... to feed the millions who are otherwise dying because it's hard to get crops to grow in their parts of the world.

      The starvation in the world is not because we don't have enough food, it is because the food can't get to the right places. This is because of wars and corrupt third world governments, so GM will do nothing to help this.

      What makes me at least wary, is actions like US companies getting the patent to basmati rice [commondreams.org], even though this has been grown in In
  • On a serious note (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Temeriki ( 997169 )
    If this particular genetic modification become prevalant in our nations rice stocks, doesnt that mean that Bayer technically owns the rice because it contains their genetic modification. What would this mean for farmers whos rice has become contaminated with Bayers strain, would their rice stock then become property of Bayer?
  • by Time_Ngler ( 564671 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @07:49PM (#16093231)
    It seems that no one so far has understood the main point of the article. Its not that Bayer's GM rice is infecting non-GM rice, but an unreleased GM rice that Bayer was still working on and was not approved by the FDA, yet, has infected Bayer's already approved GM rice that was sold to farmers.

    In other words, Bayer can't keep the unapproved and approved strains separate when they sell their GM products to the general public. **shudder**

  • That's the Republican corporate government: when a corporation breaks a law, like GM contamination or AT&T/NSA spying, just change the law.
  • Like anything, there are pros and cons. A general rule about GM crops is that the gene that confers special resistance, particularly if on a plasmid, is generally taxing to the strain of that crop.

    This means yes, the crop will succeed better due to natural selection in areas where the pesticide is applied.

    However, the associated fitness cost means that it is to the organism's advantage to lose that genitic modification whenever it grows in the absense of pesticide. So that natural selection would often

  • Sure if we have good reason to believe the company was at fault in this situation then they are certainly morally culpable. However, it is quite reasonable, likely even, that someone stole/walked out with some of this rice and started making use of it.

    Holding this company responsible when someone else may have just taken their product farmed it and sold it is completely ridiculous. It is kinda like holding a drug company responsible because someone diverted some of their product and it was used in a food
  • What happens when all of the genetically engineered crops contaminate all of the natural crops and down the road we must rely 100% on big corporations to provide seed.. which of course likely requires a much more hefty fee than natural product? Natural seed being something that you cannot get sued for growing without permission, of course..

    What happens when all of the natural species are wiped out by the GE stuff and we end up with a handful of varieties of plant that are only distinguished by their immu
  • by DigitalRaptor ( 815681 ) on Tuesday September 12, 2006 @10:37PM (#16093944) Homepage
    GM food is entirely evil, not for any of the qualities of the food, but for the legal and political sham taking place around them.

    Enter Monsanto. They make GM canola, among other things, as well as having patented over 12,000 varieties of seed, most unmodified and taken directly from the goverments own seed stores.

    A little bit of their GM seed blew off of trucks and onto the fields of a farmer in Canada. Monsanto found traces of GM plants on the farmers land (without his knowledge or permission, which in the U.S. we call trespassing), sued the farmer, and cost him his life savings, and he had to destroy all of his seed. He was a real farmer who rotated his fields with a variety of seeds to maintain the soil. He lost literally generations worth of seed, a devestating loss.

    Much of the upper echelons of the U.S. government, particularly the FDA, are former executives of Monsanto or it's subsidiaries. The goal is nothing short of utter and total control of the worlds food supply.

    Watch the documentary The Future of Food. It'll put a bad taste in your mouth.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by RexRhino ( 769423 )
      A little bit of their GM seed blew off of trucks and onto the fields of a farmer in Canada. Monsanto found traces of GM plants on the farmers land (without his knowledge or permission, which in the U.S. we call trespassing), sued the farmer, and cost him his life savings, and he had to destroy all of his seed. He was a real farmer who rotated his fields with a variety of seeds to maintain the soil. He lost literally generations worth of seed, a devestating loss.

      What you are saying is pure propoganda... The

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